[beauty] Neutrals Full Face Tutorial Video

Hey guys so I thought I would mix it up a bit today by putting my latest Youtube video as a blog update as well!  I know Makeup Geek do this quite a lot and thought I’d have a little experiment.

The video assumes you’ve started by putting on your normal daily face cream, and that you are ready to start putting make-up on.  On reflection, I should probably have started with an introduction as I know a lot of YouTubers spend a few minutes at the start introducing what they’re doing, and I just jumped right into it, but I was excited to get on with the make up!  This look is for everyday wear and is intended to be understated and subtle.

Let me know what you think of my video either by commenting on this article or on the video on YouTube, and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel if you want to see more delightful randomness, I do videos on allsorts!

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[beauty] Ten Vegan Beauty Ingredients

1. Aloe Vera Gel – Put it on burns, sunburn, dry skin, greasy skin, dehydrated skin, untoned skin – aloe vera’s soothing and skin-enhancing properties are near-legendary, don’t underestimate this gentle giant.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Courtesy of Wikipedia.

2. Coconut oil – Melt a little between your hands then rub your hands through the lengths and ends of your hair (stay away from roots). Use all-over before blonding to protect hair from the damaging effects of bleach. Use on your face as a moisturiser and on a cotton wool pad as a make-up remover. To get the oil out of the jar more quickly, turn your hairdryer on and aim it inside the jar (but don’t put the nozzle inside the jar – the glass might shatter or the hairdryer could overheat due to lack of ventilation). Put some on before sunbathing to ensure you tan more quickly (but obviously use a sunscreen as well – despite what many people say, there are NO sunscreen properties in coconut oil, otherwise it wouldn’t have taken us until the 1950s to invent a sunscreen that goes on colourless).

courtesy of www.Peta.org
courtesy of http://www.Peta.org

3. Water – Drinking enough water keeps your skin plump, healthy and looking hydrated (and therefore younger). Using frozen water (ice cubes) on sunburn will help calm the sunburn before it sets in too deeply. Lastly, washing face and hair in pure water will make you look and feel fresher.

courtesy of wikipedia
courtesy of wikipedia

4. Rosemary – an excellent astringent to get your skin clean and oil-free, rosemary also works to wash your hair and give it a natural healthy shine – although it will make blonder hair turn brown, and dulls your highlights, due to its strong antioxidant properties, so this one’s only for the brunettes.

rosemary plants, source: wikipedia
rosemary plants, source: wikipedia

5. Cinnamon – The main active ingredient in Lip Venom, the original lip plumper, cinnamon can cause your lips to tingle and swell. Of course, the effects are fairly short-lived and depend on how you react to the cinnamon.

source: wikipedia
source: wikipedia

6. Tea tree oil – Got some spots you’d like to get rid of? Worried about how to avoid getting nits whilst volunteering in an orphanage? Want to keep the mosquitos away? Tea tree oil works a treat.

source: wikipedia
source: wikipedia

7. Bicarbonate of soda – cleans teeth, gets the stains right out. Also gets the foundation-stains out of clothing. Just in case you accidentally caught your face on your favourite top.

8. Salt – Natural rock salt is a good all-rounder – it can be used with a teeny bit of water to act as a scrub for elbows, knees, feet etc. It also has the property of making an oil layer where it’s been used, which helps keep moisture in and solve longer-term problems. Lastly (don’t over do this one) you can use it to whiten your teeth, although be careful with that, it’s highly abrasive. It will help remove highly resistant dirt and sterilise gums, but it can also cause its own problems too, like wearing away tooth enamel.

rock salt, courtesy of wikipedia.
rock salt, courtesy of wikipedia.

9. Parsley – You know those times when you’re out and everyone’s standing five feet away from you, holding their noses? When, every time you try to talk, everyone turns away? If you have halitosis-related networking issues, get some parsley, put it in your mouth and chew it. It freshens breath. It’s also packed full of healthy minerals, so swallow it once your done.

parsley, courtesy of wikimedia commons.
parsley, courtesy of wikimedia commons.

10. Lemon – Lemon’s a useful fruit in the beauty war – it fades sunspots (apply lemon juice directly to sunspots, using a q-tip), lemon can add golden highlights to blonde and light brown hair too – just put some on your hair, then go out in the sun, where the lemon juice reacts to the sun causing a blonding effect.

lemon, courtesy of wikipedia.
lemon, courtesy of wikipedia.

Which beauty ingredients do you use that are vegan?  I love discovering new ones so let me know in the comments or via Twitter: @InvokeDelight

Lash Growth Serums REVIEWED: Rapid Lash, Eveline SOS Lash Booster and Rimmel Lash Accelerator

Lash serums reviewed!
Rapid Lash, Rimmel London Lash Serum, Eveline SOS Lash Booster (aka Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator Concentrated Serum 3 in 1)

Updated version comparing RapidLash and RevitaLash here.

Lash serums claim to be able to make your lashes grow. I have seen a lot of mixed reviews of them across the internet, and couldn’t really find many compare and contrast discussions except for the most popular ones. I did read a very scathing “scientific” review of lash serums in general, which claimed (using what is termed in science a “common sense” conclusion, meaning, a conclusion with no actual evidence to back it up, and based entirely on assumptions, therefore this “scientific” review was really very unscientific) that none of them could possibly work because if they did, they’d be FDA registered as pharmaceuticals, and therefore that only Latisse could possibly do what it said in the advertising spiel.

The translucent thingy at the top is a Moonstone because the tubes kept rolling away!
The translucent thingy at the top is a Moonstone because the tubes kept rolling away!

I disagree with this, primarily because Latisse is only registered as a pharmaceutical product because it has an ingredient in it which is used to treat glaucoma, an eye disease. Think about all the products you can get without a prescription – paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin, cough mixture, athelete’s foot cream… just take a walk around a drugstore, the only reason things get labelled as “POM” or Prescription Only Medicine is if they have a potentially unsafe side effect, or if the condition they are licensed to treat HAS to be confirmed by a doctor, for public health reasons. The potentially unsafe side effect of Latisse is it can turn your eyes brown, although the incidents of this happening have not happened with Latisse, just with the active ingredient in Latisse, which is also used to treat glaucoma. Ergo, Latisse is a POM. Are you still with me?

In order to register something as a POM, it has to be supported by very expensive clinical trials – including mandatory animal testing in many countries. I’d rather buy a lash serum that hasn’t been forced into the eyes of bunnies, so I think it’s a good thing that none of them are licensed as pharmaceuticals. On top of that, there would be no point in any brand of lash serum registering their product as a medicine unless it could perform as well as Latisse, or better than Latisse, because otherwise, who is going to prescribe it to patients, and what patients would use it? As a beauty product, however, they can reach a wider market and achieve their goal – to help women grow their lashes. By not doing clinical trials, they are also saving a lot of money – which is what makes these products a lot cheaper than Latisse. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t assume it won’t work just because it’s not on prescription, and don’t assume it’ll give results that are as good as Latisse just because someone on one of those review aggreggating websites said it was true. With my expectations managed, I made a start with Rapid Lash.

I’d never actually heard about lash serums until I saw Rapid Lash for sale a couple of months ago. Before buying, I researched profusely to find out which one was the best value for money; obviously that’s generally going to be a trade-off against what is most likely to work. I narrowed the choices down to Rapid Lash, L’Oreal’s lash serum, Rimmel London’s lash serum and Eveline SOS lash booster (the Eveline one was my “wildcard” – the one I knew nothing about, hadn’t even heard of the brand, but I wanted to try anyway).

Rapid Lash:

This is the first lash growth serum I had tried. I found it was quite often compared with Latisse so thought it would probably be quite good.

rapid lash rapidlash lash serum bottle

First impressions:

I bought my Rapid Lash from Amazon.  It’s also available at Boots in the UK.

When it arrived, the outer packaging was a bit squashed, but when I opened it the packaging of the product itself was fine. It has an opalescent glow to the tube that makes me slightly mesmerised if I stare at it for too long.

The instructions said “use once daily at bedtime,” I wasn’t sure why specifically at bedtime, maybe because it doesn’t combine with mascara very well. I waited over twelve hours until bedtime to try it out. I was very excited, but ready to be disappointed at the same time.

First application:

On first application, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It said to apply at the base of the lashes, so I ensured both the eyelid and hairs were coated where they met. It dried my eyes out considerably even the next morning when I woke up they still felt dried out. I also dabbed a bit on my eyebrows where I’ve been trying (completely unsuccessfully) to get them to grow in for over a year.

The second and third applications also dried my eyes out – I think this continued for about the first week of using Rapid Lash. Also I started to get a slightly darkened strip on my eyelid around where I’d applied it, I am hoping this isn’t permanent.

Initial results:
The first week showed no results. Neither did the second week. About halfway through the third week, however, I suddenly noticed a dramatic change in my lash length. I don’t wear mascara during my day-to-day life (or any makeup) because I don’t think it’s great for my skin to be constantly removing it, and have only worn it once during the time I was using Rapid Lash.

Mid-term results:

In my natural lashes, I noticed after three and a half weeks, some of them were considerably longer than others. When I scrutinised my lashes in the mirror, I realised something profound – I have a double layer of lashes, a la Elizabeth Taylor and Catherine Zeta Jones. I always thought my eyes were my best feature, but I had no idea I had twice as many lashes as most people. It kind of figures though, since I have more hair on my head as well (no, I don’t wear extensions).

I was thrilled that the product was working, but needed to work out how to get it to cover all my lashes, since applying over the top of the base clearly wasn’t getting product onto the lowest layer of lashes on my upper lids. I decided to defy the product’s packaging, since it wasn’t drying my eyes out any more, and started applying it underneath the lashes at the very base, almost like a mascara, except you don’t need to coat the length of the lashes. I also wiggled the brush sideways to get it in between the two layers of lashes as well.

Two more weeks later, and my lashes are even longer. Now that they’re all growing, I look like I’m wearing mascara when I’m not. My lashes have definitely grown although I didn’t see the sort of growth some rave reviewers said they’d had. What’s more, the hair on the ends of my brows has definitely grown in, too. It’s not back to how it was when I was 14, before I plucked every week for 12 years, but it’s definitely an improvement.

Mid-term side effects:

After a week or so, the staining of my eyelid and the drying effect on my eyeballs seemed to have died out, and I haven’t noticed it happening in a while. The eyebrow hairs are growing through quite nicely too. There was a week around week two or three where my under-eye area was irritated, but I think it was because my longer eyelashes were touching part of my face that wasn’t used to having so much contact with hairs (i.e. every time I blinked). I curled my eyelashes for a few days and when I stopped my under-eye area seemed fine again. I haven’t noticed any other side effects.

Conclusion:
Some people’s claims about Rapid Lash sound a bit exaggerated, and some are overly skeptical. Basically, it helped my lashes grow, improved their condition, and reduced lash fallout, and I started noticing results about three and a half weeks in, even though the packet said you needed to use it for eight weeks. I will continue to use it (although I do have other lash serums to try out after Christmas, for comparison) until it runs out because I really like what its doing to my lashes, but it is still £20 which is a significant expenditure. If in the next couple of weeks I get “eyebrow length lashes” from using Rapidlash as some people have claimed, I will update y’all. I’m glad I bought this though, even though it was expensive, it is still cheaper and a lot easier than lash extensions (although length and volume aren’t as good). This was the most expensive product I reviewed, as a 3ml tube cost £21.88, which was a stunning £7.29 per 1ml.


Eveline SOS Lash Booster aka Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator Concentrated Serum 3 in 1

Eveline SOS Lash Booster was another find from Amazon, it retails for about a fiver, and there was a matching mascara. Being a complete sucker for sets of products, I bought both.  This review is specifically about the Lash Booster (aka Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator Concentrated Serum 3 in 1), not the mascara.

Eveline SOS lash booster applicator

First Impressions:

The SOS Lash booster comes in a mascara-like tube, with a mascara wand. When you open it, the brush is coated in white stuff, which coats your lashes. The instructions said “use under mascara.” I liked the packaging design it looks very classy.  I was quite excited after discovering I have two layers of lashes, because I thought a product like this that coats the lashes would ensure all my lashes got product on them, something that had been hard to work out with the Rapid Lash (although once I’d worked it out, it was fine).

First Application:

I read the instructions. Then, like a muppet, I put it on last thing at night before I went to bed. I guess I was missing my Rapid Lash as this was the first thing I tried afterwards (also, it was Christmastime and I was tired and drunk). Whereas Rapid Lash goes on colourless and is completely undetectable on your eyes, this stuff is super-obvious, it coats your eyelashes in white so you look a bit like the Snow Queen out of Narnia. There’s quite a few eyelash primers on the market at the moment, and that’s what this SOS Lash Booster most closely resembles. I left it on overnight to see what would happen.

Initial Results:
Initial results were really good, I thought my lashes looked a lot longer over that first week, regardless of whether I was wearing mascara or not. I did coat them more lightly though after that first application, because I was trying to find out if I really needed to wear mascara or if there was an optimal application amount which would be less obvious. There wasn’t. You need to put mascara on top of this or not go anywhere where people will see you. Unless it’s snowing. Which it actually was when I started using this. But it wasn’t snowing indoors so it was still really obvious that I’d got white stuff on my lashes. It really didn’t help with the “you look like Elsa from Frozen” comments I’ve been getting lately, due to my silver hair, and while I love the character and film, it’s still not a good everyday look.

Do you wanna build a SNOWMAN???
Do you wanna build a SNOWMAN???

Mid-Term Results:
After three weeks, my eyelashes don’t seem to have grown any more than before. If anything, I’d say that without anything on, for example just after I’ve washed my face in the morning, they are shorter now than before I started using this. The white Eveline SOS Lash Booster always makes my lashes look longer and thicker, but I don’t think there’s any long lasting benefit to using this product. It is a really nice first step for under mascara, however. The mascara itself was disappointingly clumpy and didn’t add much length or volume, I think I used it twice, and the second time was an attempt to get a good photo. I prefer to use this Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator (aka SOS Lash Booster) under my L’Oreal Million Lashes Mascara, and it gives an intense result (if I opened my eyes so my eyelashes were flat against my eyelids, I could feel my lashes touching my eyebrows, although it didn’t quite look like falsies), but I don’t think it makes my lashes grow, I think it just coats the lashes. One thing I have noticed though, which also makes this product worth buying, is that it does make mascara removal a LOT easier, as well as reducing the number of lashes that fall out when removing eye make-up.

Conclusion:
With nothing to go on, because nobody else had reviewed this product when I bought it, I knew I was taking a risk. While it appears to have done nothing to make my eyelashes grow, it does make them look very long and thick and is the perfect primer to go on underneath the L’Oreal Million Lashes Mascara. I would buy it again as a fantastic primer but not as a lash growth serum.

Rimmel London Lash Accelerator
The Rimmel Lash Accelerator Serum was the cheapest of the lot. I was really expecting nothing from this. Like, I really didn’t think it could have any effect whatsoever that wasn’t just an illusion.

rimmel lash accelerator

First Impressions:

It arrived in a nice tube that showed clearly that the product was colourless. The applicator was an interesting shape. It didn’t smell of anything and the instructions said I could use it more than once a day at any time of day. I was a little suspicious of this after the incredibly specific instructions on the Rapid Lash. The tube was a very generous 11ml of product.


First Application:

The applicator seemed to bring a LOT of product out of the tube. I had to keep wiping the brush at the top of the tube to try and make sure I wasn’t just dousing my eyelashes in the stuff. I still ended up putting far too much on, and since I decided to give it a first try before bed, it stuck my lashes together and meant I couldn’t roll over and go to sleep until it dried, which took forever.

Initial Results:
This didn’t seem to give much of a result for a few days, but as time went on I realised it was having a subtle effect. It didn’t have any kind of reaction or stinging, and didn’t leave a dark line around the base of my lashes like the Rapid Lash did, so that was really nice. I felt under less pressure to get this one on every single lash on each application because it could be used more than once per day, and I did find myself using it morning and evening for first few days.

Mid-Term Results:

After about a week my eyelashes stopped growing any further and I noticed much more eyelash loss than I’d had with either the Rapid Lash or the Eveline. I would say the Rimmel Lash Accelerator Serum works more quickly than the RapidLash and has an effect sooner, but its maximum length was less – so if you want medium lash growth in a week, this is the product for you, but if you want longer lashes after about three to six weeks, the Rapid Lash is the better product. I never did get to grips with the crazy amount of product that the applicator dispensed, and as a result, sometimes my lashes looked like they were covered in latex lash glue when all that product dried and left a whitish residue. Not a good look. So while, in theory, this one should be usable without having to put a mascara on top, I didn’t feel confident walking around with residue on my lashes so ended up putting mascara on top anyway. Unfortunately, this seemed to cause a clumping effect. The applicator was a lovely idea but I think it could have been designed a bit more effectively because, whichever hand you write with, you will poke yourself in the nose with the brush whilst trying to cover the lengths of your lashes.

Conclusion:

I liked the fact that the Rimmel Lash Accelerator could be used more than once per day and that the results showed quite quickly, and I thought that the length was good as a short term fix, or if you already have fairly long lashes. However, I would have liked a better applicator. If you’re making your decision based on price per product, this one definitely beats the lot at £2.99 per 11ml, or 27p per 1ml of product.  NOTE: Since I bought this, barely a month ago, the UK price has tripled to £9.99 per 11ml (plus over £2 postage)! In the US, it’s now around the $11.99 mark.  I’d have to say, I wouldn’t pay £9.99 plus postage, making the Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator one the cheapest at around $7.99 on Amazon.com.


In Closing…

The Rapidlash was really the only product that grew my lashes to an impressive length – but at ten times the price of the Rimmel one, I don’t think this product is necessarily going to suit everyone’s budget. I would certainly buy it again and, now that this trial is over, I am going to go back to using the Rapidlash because I felt it was the most effective product, and was the most hassle free application. The Rimmel Lash Accelerator was excellent as a starter serum, having some effect without necessarily being life-changing. It took a while to dry, however, and left a residue, so isn’t great if you’re on the go, and I am still stunned by the price increase. The Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator (Eveline SOS Lash Booster) didn’t do an awful lot to grow my lashes, perhaps because they were quite long and in good condition already from the Rapid Lash , but the Eveline one was certainly a good lash conditioner, a fantastic mascara primer, it did make lashes look longer even if it didn’t grow them, and it made eye-make-up removal really easy, as well as being very conditioning, and so I will keep that as part of my make-up routine.  I would have liked some more photos of my eyelashes, but the effects of all of these products don’t seem to show up on camera very well, unless you wear mascara, and it’s so easy to fake an eyelash review picture when you’re wearing mascara that it’s not even worth trying to do a comparison before and after pic, because it’s not a true representation of the results.  At the end of the day, they are all cheaper and easier than eyelash extensions, and require less downtime because you don’t need to spend hours at the salon.  HOWEVER, if you want a result that lasts and that looks like eyelash extensions, you’ll need to get some eyelash extensions put in. Duh.

August 2015: I’ve written a newer article comparing RapidLash and RevitaLash here
May 2016: I’ve written a NEWER NEWER article comparing Grande Lash MD to RapidLash and Revitalash.

How To Get Better Results From Color Remover: How Color Remover Works

This is an explanation as to how color remover works, because I’ve seen a lot of color remover reviews recently that lead me to believe people have unrealistic expectations of their color remover. I am going to get a bit technical in places, read around these bits if you just want color remover tips. I’ve also done a Hair Color Remover FAQ (which is science-free) for my most frequently answered questions. Last updated November 2016.

What is color remover?

Color remover is a product such as Color Oops that removes the dyed color from your hair.

How to make color remover more effective:
1. Don’t use dry shampoo or products between the last time you washed your hair and using color remover.
2. Don’t use “the coconut oil method” – that’s for bleaching, not color remover, and can interfere with the chemicals involved (but do look it up for bleaching, it sounds really good).
3. Do overestimate the rinse time, particularly if your water pressure is low or you have long/thick hair. It’s better to rinse for longer, it’ll make sure more of the unwanted color gets out of your hair.
4. Wait at least 2 weeks after using color remover before using any box dye, bleach, chemical perm or straightening – check the instructions to see if you need to wait even longer.

Here’s a list of things color remover doesn’t do:

1. Color remover doesn’t turn your hair back to your natural color.
2. Color remover doesn’t make your hair blond (read on, and see).
3. Color remover doesn’t remove cuticle staining.
4. Color remover doesn’t remove semi-permanent hair color.
5. Color remover doesn’t get rid of bleaching to restore your hair to a pre-bleached color or condition.

And here’s what it does do:

Color remover removes molecules of artificial pigment from your hair’s core.

That’s it. That’s all it does.

Let’s look at this in more depth:
First you need to understand how color works. The picture to this article shows the different ways hair is affected by different types of color. To dye hair semi-permanent, your natural color is not affected, because the color sits between the cuticle (on the very outside of the hair) and the shaft.

With permanent dye, a lot of people think that the dye just changes the color of their natural color molecules (the brown circles in picture 1). That’s not how it works – it’s a Find and Replace job.

What really happens with permanent dye is that you have to get rid of some of the molecules of natural color before any artificial color will fit inside the hair shaft. After the natural colors are removed, the artificial ones are forced inside to take their place. This is why permanent colors (even black) always contain the peroxide/ammonia combo (or something similar that works in the same way). If they can’t get rid of the pre-existing natural color molecules, the artificial ones can’t get inside to change the hair’s color because there would be nowhere for them to fit in the hair shaft.

how colouring works

In the diagrams 1, 2, and 3, color remover won’t work. It doesn’t work on natural hair – there’s no artificial color to remove – it won’t work on semi-permanent (more below) and it won’t work on bleach – again, there’s no artificial color to remove, because bleach is an absence of color.

Color remover will only work on the hair in pictures 4 and 5. It penetrates the hair shaft and “shrinks” the hair molecules – they don’t mean the atoms or bonds of the molecules get smaller (which is impossible due to forces), what they mean is that it gets the oxygen off the color molecules, making them small enough to fit back through the spaces that the developer has already made in the hair shaft when it was colored in the first place. This is why, when you use color remover, you have to rinse your hair for inordinate amounts of time. If the color molecules get left in the hair, they will recombine with the oxygen and make your hair look colored again.

If the color you’re trying to get rid of is “semi-permanent” such as in picture 2, the color remover won’t work because the way it sticks to your hair is different. Semi-permanent color doesn’t go inside the hair shaft so it can’t be removed by the specific action of color remover. It’s in a different place, attaches differently, and doesn’t use the same chemical color compounds. With semi-permanent color, you should theoretically be able to wash your hair enough until it comes out. By this, I mean you have to wash it then dry it fully then wash it again then dry it again etc until the color comes out – rinsing doesn’t seem to have such a good effect, I’m not sure why.

Before I used color remover, my hair was dyed this very dark brown color. Underneath the brown, some of the length was previously dyed with a red based colorant.
Before I used color remover, my hair was dyed this very dark brown color. Underneath the brown, some of the length was previously dyed with a red based colorant.

If your hair is cuticle stained, color remover will get rid of the stuff inside the hair shaft but it cannot affect the staining, which is on the outside of the hair shaft. To get rid of cuticle staining, you can either bleach it out (if it’s mild staining) or wait for it to grow then cut it off. There is a fine line between the bleach getting rid of the staining and the bleach turning the insides of your hair to jelly mush, so bear this in mind – you might just have to live with a reddish tinge for a while (I say reddish because strong red is the most common offender in the cuticle staining stakes, although any color can stain your cuticle).  To take my hair from the color in the picture above to the color in the photo below, I used Color Oops which I bought from Amazon (that link will take you there), but I’ve heard that the Scott Cornwall one works just as well, depending on what’s cheap where you live.  One of the great things about Color Oops is that you can use it more than once.

This was after I used color remover once on my hair. As you can see, some of it is still slightly red but mostly the color is an even shade.
This was after I used color remover once on my hair. As you can see, some of it is still slightly red but mostly the color is an even shade.

When you use color remover, the molecules I’ve drawn as red circles on my diagrams will leave the hair, but sometimes they don’t all leave; it depends how colored your hair is – there might not be enough molecules of color remover to attach to all the bazillions of molecules of color in your hair in cases such as picture 5 where there’s not a lot of original molecules left. In this case, you would need to do a second color remove after the recommended wait time (see the instructions).

You’ve probably also noticed that the more towards the right we go, the more the natural color becomes yellow rather than brown. Each time you color your hair, it affects the hair again in the same way, so your natural color may have been affected by the peroxide to make it a blonder base – this is often the case in colors to get a truer color result; think how many of them state they won’t work on hair that is naturally quite dark!

Why is this important? Because if the natural color was affected by the peroxide during the coloring process, and the color has masked the effect, then when you use color remover your hair might go to an orangey color or a mousey caramel color, or even a blond, depending how many times your hair has been colored since it grew out of your scalp, because it has no healing powers and permanent coloring causes a permanent change to your hair (surprising, given the name). If this happens, you can either:
a) Use a semi permanent color to mask that this has happened, and reapply whenever it starts to fade.

b) Wait at least two weeks (see the color remover’s instructions in case they vary) then put a new permanent color on your hair – this can be one that is the same color as your hair or a new color. Be aware if you are doing this that the color on the box is unlikely to be the color you end up with if your hair’s not a natural color to start with. Permanent box dyes are designed to affect natural, complete hair shafts, and there isn’t always enough artificial color to get a good first-time result on peroxide-changed hair, even though it was a box dye that caused that change to your hair in the first place.

After using the color remover, I waited three weeks just to make sure the color remover was totally gone from my hair, then used L'Oreal Feria Extreme Platinum to prelighten it to this lovely blonde color.
After using the color remover, I waited three weeks just to make sure the color remover was totally gone from my hair, then used L’Oreal Feria Extreme Platinum to prelighten it to this lovely blonde color.

c) Do nothing and see what happens. If you just want to get rid of yellow or orange tones in your hair, consider a “silver shampoo” or toner, which is not permanent and might leave your hair looking more natural. Use a blue-colored “silver” shampoo for hair that’s more orange than you’d like, and a purple-colored “silver” shampoo for hair that’s more yellow.

And that’s how color remover works and how to get the best from your color remover.

If you still have questions, check out my Hair Color Remover FAQ where I answer your questions about color remover.

[beauty] “Gel” nail varnish review: Collection Lasting Gel Colour and Avon Gel Finish

Two beauty posts in a row, you’re thinking, what is going on?

It’s Christmas soon, and I will be going to see my aunts, where I can’t really start taking photos of nail polish and what not so I thought I’d do two in a row then do my next beauty/hair post in the new year.  Between now and then, of course, I will do travel, rabbits and wellness posts.

Today I’m going to look at two nail varnishes that claim to give you “gel” nails.  Gel nails have been heavily marketed this year as the next big thing in nail polish, and it seems that nail varnish companies don’t even have to make a product that remotely resembles an actual gel finish in order to put “gel” in the title.  I’m not reviewing ones like that which I’ve tried out, because I don’t really have the money to waste on buying them to do a proper review, and I don’t think it’s right to do a review from the shop’s testers that you see in drugstores (although I’m sure some people do).  The two I’m reviewing both offer an above average shine finish, which I would say at least looks a bit like a gel.

Collection Lasting Gel Colour and Avon Gel Finish Nail Varnish

First of all, let’s talk colour.  As you probably know, Avon is a mail order company so their products can be a bit hit or miss.  The colour I got was called Candy Apple, and in the brochure it showed a nice pinky red – I thought it would suit me because my skin tone doesn’t suit orangey reds at all.  It turned up and was orangey red.  So I went to the shop and bought the Collection Lasting Gel Colour in Raspberry 7.  This was exactly the same colour as the other one was advertised, and I really love the Raspberry colour, it’s a very grown-up seductive pink in the bottle.

Going on my nails, the Lasting Gel Colour Raspberry stayed true to its bottle colour and the Gel Finish Candy Apple got even more red.  I definitely was happier with the Raspberry shade and wish Avon would be a bit more forthcoming with key information when they advertise products, such as more accurate colouring (perhaps they could photograph the bottles of nail varnish from the front rather than doing the computer-generated splodges of colours).

Avon Gel Finish in Candy Apple (left) and Collection Lasting Gel Colour in Raspberry 7 (right).
Avon Gel Finish in Candy Apple (left) and Collection Lasting Gel Colour in Raspberry 7 (right).  This is without fake tan but I still think the one on the right works better for my skintone.

Drying time was about equivalent – a light coat of both nail varnishes took maybe 90 seconds to dry.  Neither of them took very long and I was walking around on my newly-painted toe nails in no time at all.  Neither of them used a fancy drying light they just air dried to a nice shine.
The shine was superior on the Avon Candy Apple.  It was definitely the shiniest product once they had dried, although the Collection Raspberry wasn’t far behind – I tried to show the light reflection in my photos.  Both could legitimately claim to have a gel-like finish to them.  I examined them again two days later and they just didn’t look as shiny – I suspect they use waxes to get the shiny finish.  The Avon one looked like it had been smudged over the last two days, which is impossible because it was totally dry after 90 seconds.  The Collection one had faded to the same amount of shine as a normal nail varnish.  The colour of both nail varnishes didn’t fade at all though.

This photo is to show how shiny they were in normal lighting (with a ceiling light with an energy saving bulb).  I think the Avon Gel Finish one came out shiniest.
This photo is to show how shiny they were in normal lighting (with a ceiling light with an energy saving bulb). I think the Avon Gel Finish one came out shiniest.

In conclusion, I liked the initial super-shiny finish of the Avon one better, but I preferred the colour and the duration of the Collection nail varnish, which also happens to be significantly cheaper at £2.99 a bottle, whereas the Avon one is £7 a bottle.  If I was buying a red-like nail varnish again, I’d go with the Collection Lasting Gel Colour because I scoured Avon’s listings and they just don’t have any other colour that looks anything like Collection’s Raspberry 7 and I just really love that colour.  I’ve never had a gel pedicure so I can’t say how it compares to a professional finish, but then I don’t think these nail varnishes would ever really replace salon services, they’re more of a DIY option for people like me who like to do things at home (or on the road).  They’re both nice Christmassy colours though and at the end of the day it totally depends on your skin’s undertones as to which one would suit you best – I hardly ever wear colours this bright (and never on my fingernails, they’re always done in neutrals) but I was very taken with the pinky-red colour I saw in the Avon catalogue in the first place.

Which gel nail varnishes have you tried?  Do you think you got a salon finish?  Let me know in the comments or on my twitter @InvokeDelight  xx

[beauty] In Memory of Some Fine Lipsticks

In Memory of Some Fine Lipsticks:

Sadly, I have had to throw away all of my regular use lipsticks today. It’s been a difficult decision, but one I ultimately had to stand by for my own lips.

lipwear
The two lipsticks, lip balm and lipgloss I had to throw away this morning. Sad times.

Here is a list of the casualties:

Estee Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in 117 Rose Tea
Avon Anew Plumping Balm in Rose Tint
Collection 2000 Plumping Lipgloss in 3 Lilac Crush
Collection 2000 Volume Sensation Lipstick in 1 Forever Heather

They were my four favourite lipwears, I’m not sure you can actually buy any of them any more (I was in Tesco the other day and couldn’t even see the Volume Sensation Lipstick) so I’m right outside my comfort zone with no lipwear at the moment – all my non-regular use lippies are unusual colours whereas these were all wearable on a daily basis without people passing comment. At this rate, I might have to wear my Bobbi Brown Neon Pink lipstick just because it’s nearest. At least until I get to the shop to buy my next new nude.  I might need to rethink my eyeshadow colours for a while, swapping my earth tone browns for pale pinks so they match better.

Why did I have to throw these away? I hear you wondering. Well it started 6 months ago – see, I’ve always had exceedingly good immunity to coldsores, and even when I get them, they barely show and I never feel them. This bump appeared on the centre of my lip, then it kept going away. About 2 months ago, I realised it was appearing every time I used my Volume Sensation lipstick, but I thought it was a side effect of the lipstick’s active ingredient – Maxilip – which isn’t sold any more and I don’t know why. So I carried on regardless because it was my best colour and I liked the plumping effect. Unfortunately, earlier this week, the bump got a whole lot worse – like, now it’s two huge coldsores in both corners of my mouth, with the same bump still off-centre. I am currently bombarding it all with Zovirax, and it’s actually sore. Problem is, about a month ago, I stopped using Volume Sensation in favour of the Avon Anew lipbalm, and in between I’ve been using the gloss and the Estee Lauder lipstick, because they’re all in my regular rotation. So I’ve given coldsores to all my lipsticks, and now they’re giving them back to me!

I’ve never had a problem like this before, but the amount of times they just keep coming back says to me that I need to just bin the lot of them and start afresh with brand new unopened lipsticks. So it is with a heavy heart that I binned them all earlier this morning. I feel they deserve a eulogy, but I don’t know what to say. I hope they don’t end up in the possession of a bin diver, they will be disappointed when they get coldsores (but it will totes serve them right for not understanding that things get thrown away for a reason).

I have, of course, also cracked open the Zovirax (aciclovir 5%) coldsore cream to try and kill this triumvirate of terror that’s making my lips look awful during Christmas season, but throwing away my lipsticks should definitely prevent another re-occurrence.

Now I need to do research and read reviews about which lipsticks to replace them with. Unless anyone has any recommendations?  I prefer nudes and plumpers that work for longer than just while they’re on your lips.

What is “all natural,” and what are “chemicals?”

What is “all natural” and what are “chemicals?”

I am going to discuss what these two terms ought to mean, and what they really mean. Before anyone’s all like “how surprising,” this actually is surprising to a lot of people.  I have known about this issue for a very long time, because I was lucky enough to find out when I was a child, and have since grown my understanding, but some people aren’t afforded that luxury.  Don’t be sending me or other people hate for bringing this out into the open – it’s about time people stopped being too afraid of looking dumb to ask real questions about science, which means arrogant people have to stop looking down on those individuals who don’t have the same educational background, and create a learning environment.

I am very disillusioned with the ingredients industries (cosmetics, food and pharmaceutical industries) because a long time ago, they created two nonsensical phrases that they can put on more expensive products and get you to buy them, believing you’re doing the right thing for the environment, the animals, and of course, your body. Unfortunately, some very unethical companies have really cashed in on this, and are drowning out the genuine well-intentioned companies with products derived from plants they’ve grown and harvested themselves.

Those companies are real, I will say that from the beginning. I have nothing but love for products made from olive oil, coconut anything, and any of my favourite herbs.  Whether they’re “natural” or “chemical free” is neither here nor there.

Since the terms “all natural” and “no chemicals” are effectively undefinable, they are being put on the packaging for all sorts of crap you’d never want to own in a million years, let alone justify the price tag.

Lets start with chemicals.

A few years ago, a governor tried to bring a bill to the Senate in America to ban the use of dihydrogen monoxide. Her list of the dangers of this terrible chemical was huge – it was known to be deadly in small amounts, it was colourless and odourless, meaning you might not be able to detect its presence, it’s chemical basis, hydroxyl radical, had been shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters in humans and all other animals. This chemical is found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds. It’s used in shampoo, conditioner, hair colourant, it can also be found in biological and chemical weapons manufacture and it’s an industrial solvent.

Based on this information, 86% of Americans would support a ban on dihydrogen monoxide. Would you?

I haven’t given you any important information on what dihydrogen monoxide actually is, and when the facts are twisted this way, when a harmless compound is given its chemical nomenclature (the names by which everything in the universe is known to scientists), it sounds more dangerous.

Does this picture give you a clue as to what dihydrogen monoxide actually is?

dihydrogen monoxide aka DHMO

It’s water. If you were ready to sign a petition to ban water, can you see how easily ingredients companies twist the facts to their advantage to try and get you to avoid common ingredients, so you spend more money on things that don’t contain chemicals?

Everything in the universe is made from chemicals. You know about the Periodic Table, right? That everything that possibly exists is made of atoms, and that these atoms are all elements, which are the things with the symbols on the periodic table. I use the Periodic Table symbols for Platinum (Pt) and Silver (Ag) to make writing “platinum and silver blonde” quicker, by saying “Pt and Ag blonde” instead. That’s all those chemical names are. They’re just a way of calling an ingredient by its exact combination of elements in its molecules so that we can reproduce the same things again and again. Take salt water. It’s totally natural, but it’s chemical name could reasonably be sodium chloride dihydrogen monoxide. Doesn’t that sound horrible? But it’s totally precise (hardcore nomenclaturists are crying right now at my simplification).

This is important because of this: In science, lots of similar molecules are all called “salts” including sodium chloride – sea salt – but also sodium iodide, potassium fluoride, and potassium chloride, to name but a few. Some of them behave very differently to others.  In science, it pays to be exact about ingredients names. In fact, labelling law in some countries forbids the manufacturers from calling a lot of things by their normal names, to avoid confusion. For example, did you know that the plant known in England as plantain, hailed as one of the seven miracle herbs of the Celtic world, is not even remotely related to Caribbean plantain, which is a savoury banana. You can buy plantain chips in the Caribbean aisle of the English supermarket, but they’re made of Caribbean plantain, which could be confusing! To make it more confusing, rabbits can eat plantain (from England) but not plantain (from the Caribbean)! This is the exact reason that scientists have given everything in the world a chemical name. Every single thing.

So the only thing anyone could sell that would truly contain “no chemicals” would be a big jar of nothing! And even then, the jar is made of chemicals such as glass, stone or plastic. Manufacturers really cash in on this meaningless term because they can bend it to mean whatever they want it to mean. One minute, “no chemicals” means “nothing with a ‘y’ in it” another it means “no metals” (salt is 50% metal), they pick the meaning, don’t explain it to us customers, and charge us more money for the product because it’s supposed to be healthier.

As customers, we expect “no chemicals” to mean something we can’t quite define – nothing unhealthy or made in a lab, for starters. Something healthier, or that’s more natural. I would like the phrase “no chemicals” to be banned by labelling laws.

Everything’s Natural

Natural is another word that should be banned from all packaging. Everything we have on this planet is natural. People often think scientists go round attaching atoms to each other to make molecules with special properties, the so-called “secret formula” of outdated horror movies.

Scientists like these are as non-existent and unreal as the vampires, werewolves, golems and slime monsters they invent or destroy in those films. I promise you. I’m a fully qualified chemistry teacher and I have worked in a pharmacy, and I have never once seen scientists create nearly-magic stuff from nothing. I repeat, everything we have, everything we’ve made, it’s all come from our natural planet. But that doesn’t mean you’d want to eat it. What you’re expecting from “all natural” products seems obvious – plant derived, herbs, cleansing energy, ancient goodness, things you could make in your kitchen. Unfortunately, that’s not always what products contain when they’re labelled “all natural.”

Often, subversive companies use the “all natural” or “natural ingredients” type labelling to make you think something is more wholesome than it really is. For example, Walkers Sensations were claiming their crisps (potato chips) were “made with natural ingredients.” Let’s break this down and define it by what it isn’t:

Supernatural means anything that occurs which is physically unexplainable.
Unnatural means “not natural.”

Natural means anything that occurs which is physically possible and explainable by the triple discipline of biology-physics-chemistry (aka science) through empirical means (in other words, by testing it).

Therefore everything in the universe that can be explained by physics is natural.

I asked a physicist if crisps were explainable by biology chemistry and physics. He agreed. There may have been investigator bias because I am a chemist asking the question and I already knew the answer, but I don’t think it affected his answer because it’s a simple “natural or supernatural.”

When you look at labelling, this is the definition that is often used.

The other definition, and the one people expect “natural” to mean, is “occurs in nature.” Crisps don’t occur in nature, you don’t just find them lying around. The label did say natural ingredients, so I will point out bottles of vegetable oil (the second ingredient on the back) aren’t just sitting around in the jungle waiting to be picked up, a plant has to be processed to get it. Face creams, soaps, shower gels, miso soups, and tubs of beans don’t occur in nature. They have all been subjected to a process even if that process is simply mixing them together. If we were to say natural means “any ingredient that occurs in nature, that has been processed and combined with other ingredients” then anything in the universe could be classed as natural. The use of the word is completely binary, with no middle ground. Therefore, if a law were to regulate use of the word natural, you wouldn’t be able to put it on any natural products because you wouldn’t find them occuring in nature with “natural” labels on them. The only 100% natural way of life is to become fruitarian. Which as I discuss elsewhere is shockingly unhealthy and lacks amino acids in the quantities needed for brain, muscle and organ function in humans over the long term (but sounds very romantic). So no, that toothpaste isn’t natural, and yes, that orange is natural, and they’re both made of chemicals, because all things in nature are made 100% from chemicals (check out the “Periodic Table of Elements – also called “the periodic table of CHEMICAL elements”) and they’re all completely natural.

Conclusion:

Natural and no-chemicals labelling has become a marketing ruse to get you to pay over the odds for a less effective product because then they don’t have to actually spend time and money on Research and Development to make a product that functionally competes with the brand leaders.

The ideals of the original companies that began labelling their products with these words have been subverted by large corporations and smaller swindling start-ups for financial gain, because you can’t prove that anything (even 2-hydroxypropanoic acid*) is not natural.

* 2-hydroxypropanoic acid is also called lactic acid and is made in the human body, it builds up in muscles after exercise causing that familiar stiff feeling.